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A-League Preview: Roar set to increase runaway lead

5 February 2014 02:11

Brisbane Roar could effectively wrap up the A-League premiership with victory over second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday.

The Roar (37 points) already lead the Wanderers by seven points heading into the round 18 clash, while Brisbane also have a game in hand on the reigning premiers.

Western Sydney will not play next week as their round 19 fixture against Melbourne Victory was completed in January due to the latter's AFC Asian Champions League commitments, so if Brisbane can knock off the Wanderers and then defeat the Newcastle Jets, they could have a 13-point gap at the top of the table with just eight games to play.

The premiership is awarded to the team that finishes the regular season top of the ladder, while the winner of the grand final are dubbed the champions.

The Roar cruised past the Wanderers 3-1 earlier in the season when the two sides also clashed at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.

Brisbane coach Mike Mulvey has his team purring along nicely with the Roar having lost just two of their past 11 games.

Mulvey's men made a statement about their title credentials last week with a 2-1 win over reigning champions Central Coast Mariners and could essentially eradicate any doubt about them being the best team in the A-League this season with another win over the Wanderers.

With Albanian striker Besart Berisha scoring his seventh goal of the season to dispatch the Mariners, Brisbane should also be confident of breaking down Tony Popovic's much-vaunted defensive system at Western Sydney.

Berisha is set to leave Brisbane at the end of the season for Melbourne Victory and while the Roar have seemingly had little trouble dealing with his absences through injury and suspension this season, the fiery forward's goal against Central Coast underlined his quality.

The 28-year-old has moved to equal third in the A-League goal-scoring charts, just one behind tied leaders Stein Huysegems of Wellington Phoenix and Newcastle Jets' Adam Taggart.

If Brisbane overcome Western Sydney, Central Coast could draw level on points with the Wanderers if they defeat Victory on Saturday.

But there will also be plenty of motivation for Victory, who could drag themselves alongside the Mariners on 27 points if they win in Gosford.

In other games, the inconsistent Sydney FC will host Adelaide United, Melbourne Heart will look to make it three straight wins at home when they face Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix will visit the Jets in Newcastle.

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Info

Competition
A-League
Date
7 February 2014
Game week
18
Kick-off
09:30
Half-time
0 - 1
Full-time
1 - 1
Venue
Pirtek Stadium (Parramatta)
Attendance
16401

Goals

0 - 1
L. Haliti 85'  
1 - 1

Lineups

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
7 85' 85'
9
2
18
20
# Player Bookings
10
8
14
16
20

Tuesday 21 October

Monday 20 October

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Sunday 19 October

23:57
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A-League table

# Team MP D P
1 2 +2 6
2 2 +3 4
3 2 +1 4
4 2 +1 4
5 2 +0 3
6 2 +0 3
7 2 +0 2
8 2 -1 1
9 2 -2 0
10 2 -4 0

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